Thjodhatid, aka Þjóðhátíð

I said coming back home to Iceland after 2 months in Africa was coming back to reality, but Thjodhatid is anything but real life. Its one of the biggest parties in Iceland every year, with some 15 or 20 thousand people arriving in Haimey, one of the Vestmann Islands whose resident population is only 4,000. For three nights and three days there is a stage and a bunch of white tents in the Valley between this massive mountain ridge, and planes, helicopters, boats and ferries work around the clock to bring everyone there. People sleep in tents either in the valley or on the lawn of a friend or relative, and all of a sudden there are more tents than houses scattered around town.

disco party on the boys hands

disco party on the boys hands

One of the main sponsors, or maybe just advertising campaigns, was by the phone company Nova, and they set up a shop that was basically a dj stand blasting funky music, giving away lanyards and waterbottles of all colours, and selling disco ball gloves. This resulted in everyone in the valley matching with nova décor. Many were also wearing 66 degree north waterproof gear, usually in the form of big fishing overalls in neon orange or yellow. Most people wore cool sunglasses, many had matching clothes and dressed in teams with just their last name differing one sweater from another. Everything was sparkly and bright, and even though some complain the music is horrible, everyone was dancing and having a great time on the muddy ‘brekka’, the natural grassy slope creating the audience holding area.

the brekka, full of people

the brekka, full of people

Every night something special happens, and the first night a huge bonfire was lit, giving heat more than 200m away. Near the end of the night when the fire was basically a massive pile of coals, me and my friend Bjorgvin hiked to the top of it before being told no one was allowed there and almost died on the steep, slippery decent away from our slowly melting butts. On the second night was an amazing fireworks display, and me and Bjorgvin again decided to hike to the top of the rise and only accidentally planned it so perfectly that the moment we peaked, turned around and sat down to rest, the firework show started and we had the most spectacular view of the sky being lit up and the valley below it, full of screaming people and a building, eerie fog.

on top of the mountain looking down on the valley, the tiny stage and firework smog

on top of the mountain looking down on the valley, the tiny stage and firework smog

I actually missed the last night, also the biggest and best night apparently, which involved some cool light show on the brekka, but I also missed the only  rain fall and instead took the last ferry back to the main land, where Thordur, the horse god, met me to take me away on horse back for the next 4 weeks. Not a bad way to have to leave, I guess, but still too bad I missed Sunday night so I guess Ill just have to go back to Thjodhatid next year.

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